When you’re first starting to learn how to bake bread, many bakers can be intimidated by having to learn how to knead the bread dough. While there are many quick bread recipes that don’t need the dough to be kneaded, knowing how to knead bread dough will open up a whole new world of bread recipes for you to make!
Step 1: Preparation
The first step in kneading bread dough is having the proper workspace. First, prepare a flat surface such as a wooden cutting board. You will often want to cover the board with some flour first, however some recipes will specify that you must use an un-floured surface for kneading. Another tip when starting to knead the dough is to dust your hands with flour. Un-kneaded dough is often sticky and wet, so adding flour to your hands can help prevent them from sticking to your hands.
Step 2: Kneading the bread dough
Once you’ve prepared your workspace, it’s time to start kneading. The best technique to use when kneading dough is to push the dough away from you using the heel of your hand, then fold the dough back in on itself. In a lot of cases, you’ll also want to occasionally add more flour to help the dough dry out. Just make sure not to add too much to the dough. Usually, this process takes about 10 minutes by hand. Eventually, the dough will start to become more dry and smooth. Some recipes specify that the dough will need to pass the “windowpane test”. This just means that you can pull the dough until you can see light through it without tearing. Other recipes will just need you to knead until it is smooth.